Sunday, 2 October 2011

University Women: Queen's Gaels 2, Carleton Ravens 0

It was a cold, windy day Saturday afternoon down at Richardson Stadium on the Queen's West Campus with a temperature of 6 degrees Celcius when I left the house. The wind was moving at a good clip toward the southwest, but at ground level the air almost felt still. The weather chased a number of fans away and there were not many more than twenty people in the stands at any given time (not including the non-playing players from either team).

Queen's won the coin toss and took the north end of the field for the first half – they usually take the south end to start. The Queen's Gaels wore yellow for the second game in a row while the Carleton Ravens wore an all-black kit on the day with white highlights. Interestingly, the Carleton team was the first I'd seen this year that was not sponsored by Adidas, but rather was sponsored by Umbro.

As the game kicked off, it became quickly obvious that both teams were having some trouble adapting to the strong winds. Balls kicked in the air more than about ten feet up were catching in the wind and blowing toward the south end of the pitch. The Carleton players seemed to have more trouble adapting to this than the Queen's players, but that may also have been partly due to the style of play each used – Carleton tried to use more of an arial game, while Queen's was playing the ball on the ground whenever possible.

Queen's had the first chance of the game, coming in the 2nd minute as midfielder Alexis McKinty got ahold of the ball at the top of the penalty area and fired in a half-shot, half-chip that beat Carleton's goalkeeper, Anna Morsky, but could not beat the iron. The ball hit the top of the crossbar and bounced over the net. Queen's kept pressuring Carleton and the pressure paid off in the 12th minute. Striker Kelli Chamberlain received a through ball down the left wing and cut by her defender toward the net taking a couple of steps before striking the ball hard along the ground. It hit the inside of the far post and bounced into the net to put Queen's up 1-0.

After the goal, Carleton was able to apply a bit of pressure on Queen's and won a corner in the 15th minute. The ball was put low across the net and missed by a pair of defenders, but the Carleton forward could not do more than turn it into the side netting.

The play continued back and forth in the midfield over the next quarter of an hour with Queen's holding most of the possession. Eventually, Queen's striker Jacqueline Tessier was able to get onto a ball on a semi-break but Carleton's centre-back Brianna De Souza played her very well and shepherded the ball into Morsky's arms.

Morsky put the ball back into play quickly, and within a minute one of Carleton's strikers latched onto it and pressured the Queen's centre-back, Summer Rybicki. There was a miscommunication between Rybicki and the Queen's goalkeeper, Chantal Marson, causing a good chance for Carleton, but between the two of them, they were able to clear the ball from danger.

In the 35th, Queen's won a corner on the far side of the field. Mikayla Kay went to take it and curled an in-swinging corner in (one that curls toward the net rather than away). Morsky came out to play the ball before Queen's midfielder Jessie De Boer could come to it, and collided with one of her defenders. The ball hit them and deflected into the goal in slow motion, past the defender standing near the front post to give Queen's a 2-0 lead. The OUA does not seem to track "own goals" (as this was certainly one), and the goal was credited to Kay.

The teams went into half-time with a 2-0 lead for Queen's. According to the announced statistics, Queen's led in shots by an 11-2 margin and corners 5-2.

The second half began with Queen's playing into the wind, but it did not seem to slow their attack. Breanna Burton had substituted in for Jacqueline Tessier at the start of the half and had the first good chance for either team in the 58th minute. She broke free of her defender about 25 yards from goal but was unable to put the ball on target, putting it just over the bar. Queen's continued to mount the pressure, and in the 65th fired a shot in from just outside of the penalty area that hit the top of the crossbar. By this point, Tessier had come back into the game, and three minutes later had a break down the wing but put the ball a couple of feet wide.

Carleton kept absorbing the pressure and kept trying to beat the Queen's defense on the counter attack, but the Queen's back four stayed solid and did not allow any good chances on Marson's goal. The final attacks of the game came in the 87th minute when Kelli Chamberlain got her head onto a cross. Morsky made an excellent stop, spilled the ball, but was able to pounce on it before Chamberlain could react. Morsky threw the ball out to one of her midfielders who one-touched the ball up to the striker on the far side of the field. She took a couple of touches and fired the ball just wide of the Queen's goal, and the game ended with a final score of 2-0 for Queen's.

The Queen's women head up to Ottawa this Wednesday to play the Gee Gees at 7pm.

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